Kayak floatation

what do you guys use for floatation in your river kayaks. Float bags or foam or what. I’m just starting the river kayaking and need to know if I should just spend the money and buy float bags or if there is a cheaper or better method.

float bags…
Foam is not an option as it is both heavy and breaks down and probably a bunch more reasons not to use it. You can of course deflate air bags and stiff shoes, lunch, dump truck, throw bag, first aide kit, whale, clothing or washing machine in your boat if desired.

There are probably options out there for different type of bags, nylon or plastic I assume. I use what i got for free with my boats.

There are assorted sizes of bags too out there too. See you downstream.

Float bags
Most outfitters have them.

Gaia has very nice ones, some of which are on sale and Gaia is a p.net sponsor!


Cheap’ll get you…
maybe not dead but if you really want your ww kayak flushed out of your grip only to find it two days later wrapped around the trunk of a tree 5’ up from the water level you’ll put float bags in it. I could go on longer as to personal safety but perhaps the cost of replacing the kayak will be a bit more poigniant.

Here’s what you don’t go the cheap route on;

  1. PFD - spend the $100-$140 on a properly fitted ww appropriate pfd. It’s going to protect your life.
  2. Helmet - composite like a Shred Ready or the like, or at least a WRSI. I used to do theraputic work with closed head injury victims (pc?-don’t know not in the field anymore). You don’t want to be one, in any case.
  3. Instruction - Do not learn by the school of Flub & Glub. Rough curriculum and dangerous. Remember this is supposed to be fun and will be tremendously more so with some professional guidance to get you started. (Club, outfitter, etc.)

    Have lots of fun, stay safe and keep paddling!

    See you on the water,



NRS is also a p-net sponsor
And their float bags are good quality. There are different sizes of bags for boats with different volumes. If the bag is somewhat too long just fold the small end over before you insert and inflate.

If you want to save money
You can make your own float bags. Sea kayaker did an article a while back and Seattle Fabrics will send you a copy when you buy the heat-sealable nylon. www.seattlefabrics.com I think.